Out Of The Mud: Uncovering 40 Years Of Pignose Amplifiers

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Out Of The Mud: Uncovering 40 Years Of Pignose Amplifiers

Words by Mixdown Staff

For over 40 years, Pignose has been making a significant impact on guitarists.

With a rich history built on the foundations of portability and playability, Pignose-Gorilla (or Pignose) is not the most familiar name that you’ll see in the amplifier market. However, for over 40 years, Pignose have been making a significant impact on guitarists, demonstrating the importance of portability, while balancing reliability and quality performance to build great amps. Pignose aims to deliver an amp that you can take wherever you go, creating one of the world’s first portable amplifiers. At the heart of Pignose’s sensibilities is the embedded desire to have fun while maintaining a forward-thinking attitude.

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With an ethos of designing amps that were affordable but also of the highest quality, Pignose opened their doors in 1972. It wasn’t until their appearance at Summer NAMM in 1973 that the company gained traction and were recognised for their craftsmanship due to their Legendary 7-100 amplifier. Working off a strong response, the amp designers have been bringing new and exciting ideas to the music gear industry ever since, taking different approaches to amp development whilst upholding their mantra of just having ‘fun’.

Offering portable guitar amplifiers that came with two battery powered models called a ‘hog’, Pignose eventually started branching out and bringing forward solid-state amps as well as tube-based amps that later built a strong following. With a complete line of world famous battery-powered amps, Pignose today are recognised for their crowning jewel, the Legendary 7-100, designed and engineered by Richard Edlund and Wayne Kimbell. Richard was an award-winning special effects cinematographer who was notable for working on such films as Ghostbusters and Return of the Jedi as well as other music-oriented projects, while Wayne Kimbell, provided in-depth knowledge and experience in amplifiers to create a defining product for Pignose.

The 7-100 is a 5-watt portable guitar amplifier that saw the company reach new heights. Fitted with a 5-inch speaker and breathing versatility and direction into the company’s early product range, the amp weighed only 5-pounds and included minimal buttons and a clip for a guitar strap. Boasting self-equipped functionality and acting as the ‘swiss army knife’ of guitar amplifiers, the 7-100 conveyed direction and defined the Pignose name. After feeding off a successful trip at Summer NAMM in 1973, Pignose’s 7-100 gained the term ‘legendary’ from the distrubition of 65 prototypes to the iconic Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, The Eagles and The Who just to name a few.

Still having the fundamental aspects at its core, all prototypes had flexible rubber Pignose volume knobs. The amp presented an impressive ability to perform in any situation due to its portability, and in 1972 it also caught the attention of Terry Kath of the band Chicago. Being impressed by the amp, Terry went into a partnership and developed a management team. Having backing from some of the most revered musicians, Pignose gained recognition for their forward-thinking ideas and niche target of backstage amps for professional musicians.

The Pignose brand offered everything from its humble beginnings, ranging from small practice amps, to their more updated modern take on guitar amplifiers – which are still in production today. Still harbouring the in-set features of versatility and affordability, the modernised 7-100 portable amplifier is fitted with easy to reach speakers, allowing you to look inside the amp if needed. Having metal corner protectors and a touch covering the now rugged 6-inch speaker, the speakers and construction of these amps has remained in its traditional way.

Today, Pignose are still producing portable amps as well backstage practice amps for aspiring guitarists or professional travelling musicians. Offering portability in some of the smallest, less-convenient areas, Pignose have created amplifiers that balance both sides of a guitar players’ judgment when considering purchasing an amp. The company’s history and recognition has all lead towards a successful following and a florid foundation for other aspiring companies.

Pignose Amplifiers are available exclusively through Shire Music Center. For more information head to shiremusic.com.au